It’s all a blur! Already exhausted from the pre-Christmas rush, you downed too much wine too quickly, and the results – as far as you can remember – were catastrophic. How on earth will you face them in the office again after making such a fool or yourself, especially in January, when the buzz of Christmas is well-and-truly over?
The office party can be great. With all of your colleagues in one place, it’s easier to discover who is useful to know, and to find like-minded people to work closer with. It can be a golden opportunity to develop new networking partnerships. The trick however is to benefit from dealing with people in a more relaxed setting, without over-kill, and without getting too relaxed yourself. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen at the Christmas party.
Regular embarrassment is a useful mechanism to keep our behaviour in check, but deep shame, especially around the work-place, is debilitating. The feeling lingers and gets in the way of problem-solving and interaction with our colleagues. In extreme cases, people will even hand in their notice as the walk of shame proves too much.
It’s not easy, but there are some positive steps you can take in overcoming this post-party hurdle. The trick is to remember that while you behaved silly, this should not be a reflection of who you truly are. Put your energy into putting things right, rather than burning time feeling bad.
Avoid projecting embarrassment on to other people who may even be unaware of what occured. There is no point in perpetuating the event.
Apologise if and when needed, and to any particular individuals involved. Sometimes it’s clever not to spread the word too much – you don’t need to spend your first week back clarifying for everyone what you did.
Humour is a good antidote to mistakes. Be prepared to laugh about it, if and when appropriate. It will help to prevent your unease from intensifying.
Last but not least, use this experience to the good. Ok, you did mess up, but try to learn from this mistake, and to make changes where needed. Sometimes a shaming experience can be the catalyst for a much-needed change to our lives.